Sunday, September 30, 2018

Huskies are 4-1

And to think I was a little bit worried.

Last night on Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium in Seattle, the University of Washington Huskies played the Brigham Young University Cougars. The Cougars were ranked at #20 and the Huskies were ranked at #11 going into this game. This was the second time the Huskies played a ranked opponent, the first time being their loss to Auburn. But this game was one mistake away from being a shutout for the Huskies.

One the first two plays of the game, the Huskies showed brilliance. Then they had to punt. The Cougars made it to the red zone and had to try a field goal. They didn't get it. In fact, there were three field goal attempts in this game, one by the Cougars, two by the Huskies, and all three missed. That was the last time the Cougars would make it past the 50-yard line on their own.

Then the Huskies just kept scoring. The score was 21-0 at halftime. And still the Cougars could not even make it past mid-field.

With just a few minutes left in the game, the score 35-0, the Cougars punted (as they did so many times). It was raining and Chico McClatcher signaled for the fair catch but then he dropped the ball. The Cougars jumped on it and suddenly they were in the red zone. I think Husky coach Chris Petersen had put in back up players for defense because I didn't recognize any of the names. Still, it took the Cougars to 4th and goal to score in the final moments of the game.

Still, the Huskies looked amazing. Running back Salvon Ahmed made two running touchdowns and he's just a sophomore. He has so much potential. Senior quarterback Jake Browning made all but two of this pass attempts (and there were a lot). He surpassed the all-time Husky record for passing yards by a quarterback last night. Myles Gaskin was his usual amazing self.

The only part of the Huskies' game that needs improvement is the kicking game. Out kicker is a true freshman and he's done fine in other games, but here he missed two. Not that it mattered in the end. The final score was 35-7.

This is the end of non-conference play for the Huskies. They are 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference play. Next week we face a hapless UCLA team that is 0-4 overall. There is a slight danger of over-confidence playing a win-less team. But I think Coach Petersen is good and tamping down on that. We play that game in Pasadena so it's an away game for the Huskies.

That game will be at 4:30 PM Pacific Daylight time on Fox. I'm a bit surprised a major network is carrying it with UCLA being as bad as they are. I thought the game might end up on the Pac-12 Network.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Stanford (ranked at #7 took on the #8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. And lost. This helps the Huskies
because now Washington and Stanford are both 4-1 overall and 2-0 in conference and tied for the Pac-12 North championship. It may all come down to when the two teams play at Husky Stadium on November 3rd.

Oregon, ranked at #19, beat #24 California so the Ducks are also 4-1 overall, but only 1-1 in conference. I suspect when the poll comes out, California will drop off. I wasn't sure why they were ranked, having a bye the week before they showed up on the poll.

Washington State beat Utah, ending Utah's chances of winning the Pac-12 South. Colorado at 4-0 over all and 1-0 in-conference are on top of the Pac-12 South right now. USC is second at 3-2 over all and 1-1 in conference.

Washington State is also 4-1 overall but 1-1 in conference (lost to USC last week).

The AP Poll

The AP Top 25 college football poll comes out at 2:00 PM EDT. That's 11:00 AM my time. So I'm always waiting for it to come out so I can finish this blog post. And then today it was delayed until 11:30. So I was quite annoyed.

But I was happy to see the Washington Huskies move up to #10. Stanford dropped to #14 after their loss. Oregon climbed to #14 from #19. Colorado got into the top 25 at #21. And after losing to Oregon, California dropped back off after one week in the top 25.

Washington is now the highest-ranked Pac-12 team.

And, finally, BYU also dropped out of the top 25 after losing to Washington.

The Future

The Huskies have to win every game from now on, including Stanford on November 3rd. That is the only way they can be Pac-12 North Champions (unless Stanford looses an in-conference game other than to the Huskies). Then they have to win the Pac-12 Championship game to be Pac-12 Champions. Right now it's starting to look as if we might play Colorado again in that game. Then the Huskies might get invited back to the College Football Playoffs (CFP). I hope we don't play those cheaters, Alabama, again in our first CFP game. But that's a long ways away.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Paper Straws

Paper Straw
I know this is a political hot potato right now, but I'd like to add my two-cents on paper straws versus plastic straws.

I HATE paper straws.

When I was in Maryland last weekend (more here), I was served a drink (water) with a paper straw. At another place, they also had only paper straws so I went without.

A little background. When I was a kid, 50 to 45 years ago about, there were only paper straws. We didn't know any better. I remember one specific incident when I was drinking a milkshake and the straw collapsed in on itself, cutting off any ability to drink the shake through the straw.

Then plastic straws came out and the world got better.

In Maryland, this is what I re-learned about paper straws: they dissolve in liquid. The part that goes into your mouth gets mushy fast. The part that sits in the drink, gets mushy just as rapidly. My straw started bending at the air-liquid interface. If you don't drink your drink quickly, your straw becomes nearly useless. Plus, I swear there was a taste to the paper straw as it fell apart. It has to be held together with some sort of glue. I hope the glue isn't toxic. (Probably to make a paper straw not dissolve in water, you'd have to use a powerful yet toxic glue, I'm guessing.)

There's this stuff called "wet strength" that papermakers put in cardboard to make it survive contact with water. But I bet it's not FDA approved for putting in paper straws, and probably for good reason. If we're going to all switch to paper straws, we need an FDA-approved wet strength agent.

And when I got more water, I got another paper straw. It did the same as the first.

So I hate paper straws. I hope this anti-plastic-straw fad goes away soon or someone invents a better paper straw.

Thursday, September 27, 2018


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. This week's prompt is "Living." Which means I'm supposed to write about what, exactly? No clue is provided.

I saw this thing online some where. It said, "It's not the breaths you take, but how often your breath is taken away." In other words, don't be hung up on being safe and sacrifice enjoyment. I know of people who refuse to enjoy life to its fullest because it might decrease their life expectancy a few moments. Or slightly increase their chance of dying. They tend to be joyless, colorless people anyway.

This is why I drive fast (when I can) because it takes my breath away. Is it dangerous? Yes, but not as dangerous as the safety Nazis would lead you to believe (if you do it right). I've driven multiple times 155 mph (249 km/h) on the racetrack. And it took my breath away. And, yes, it was a bit dangerous. And I'll plead the fifth if asked how fast I've driven on public roads. But, believe me, I picked those places for their safety (and lack of cops).

(Ironically, the safest roads--road wise--to drive fast on, the interstates, are the heaviest patrolled. They are safe when not crowded, not when busy and now days it's hard to find an empty stretch of interstate. Maybe in Wyoming.)

So I suggest living, not worrying about dying.

Do you live? How? Tell me in the comments below.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Car Review: 2018 Dodge Challenger R/T

Yes, it has a HEMI
(The car might have been a 2019 model. It only had around 3,500 miles on it.)

Last weekend I traveled to Maryland for a family wedding. When I was arranging this trip, I decided to have a little fun and reserve a Dodge Challenger for my rental car (we paid for the airline tickets with miles, so we had extra in the travel budget). I assumed I'd get one with the V-6 engine. That has 306 horsepower which is good but not a whole lot. Plus, after renting a Mustang V-6 a few years ago that was supposed to have about 300 horsepower, it didn't feel as if it had 300 horsepower, so I assumed rental car companies "de-tuned" engines to produce less power.

So I was surprised when I walked to the car and there was a "HEMI" designation on the front fender. The HEMI is a V-8 engine known for making power, in this case 372 horsepower (with an automatic transmission; with a manual it makes 375). The color was unique, I thought, a very pretty burgundy except in sunlight it looked more red. My wife determined through Google that it was called "Octane Red."

If this car was de-tuned, it wasn't de-tuned much. It had a large amount of power. I didn't get to
5.7 L HEMI V-8
explore that power much because of traffic (lots and lots of traffic). But I did once in rural Maryland "floor it" and the car accelerated nicely. And I once accidentally chirped the rear tires.

The interior was comfortable for two. But if more than that, it was difficult to put adults in the back seat (in a nor'easter downpour no less). But the sound of the car was melodious. Even at idle the exhaust sound was lovely. When accelerating, it was orgasmic.

The engine is the same 5.7 liter V-8 that was in my old Chrysler 300C. But with this car, it had less mass to move (even though the Challenger is built on the same frame as the old 300C). The interior gauges were both modern and retro. It had one thing I like in cars, an indicator that your headlights are on while driving.

But there are some downsides. The aforementioned worthless backseat for adults is one. To put things in the trunk, you have to lift them very high. And one of our suitcases was big and heavy.

The eight-speed transmission was good most of the time, but when you were cruising, it went to 8th gear to save fuel (I assume). If you pushed on the gas to accelerate, it would lug the engine before it would downshift. This was disconcerting in traffic when you needed to respond quickly. And thanks to the wide C-pillar (there were no B-pillars), there was a horrible blind spot. I felt as if I were taking my life into my hands nearly every time I changed lanes.

But, over all, I enjoyed driving the Challenger R/T. It was fun. And that exhaust note was so bewitching.

About driving in Maryland. On roads with more than one lane in each direction, Maryland drivers tend to do about 70 mph no matter the speed limit, and I saw 55 and 65 mph speed limits. The one exception was on the 50 mph speed limited Bay Bridge where they tended to do about 60.

In rural, eastern Maryland (the "Eastern Shore") on two-lane roads, locals tended to go 5 mph under the speed limit or, at best the actual limit.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

The Huskies are 3-1

A couple of good things happened in sports over the weekend. 1) The Mariners were mathematically eliminated from the playoffs. And B) the University of Washington Huskies beat Arizona State to move to 3-1 on the season.

Even the Seahawks won!

I was on the eastern side of Maryland (the "Eastern Shore") for a wedding this weekend (more on that later) so this is why you're getting this now instead of Sunday morning.

Being in the Eastern time zone, the game started at 10:30 PM. It went to 1:30 AM.

The Huskies got the ball first (the ASU Sun Devils won the toss and deferred, as it common these days), and on their first play tried a trick play. It was intercepted by Arizona State. This put the Sun Devils in the red zone. On a 4th and goal, they scored. Not an auspicious start to the game. I was worried.

You see, for some reason, the Huskies have trouble beating the Sun Devils. Last year in Tempe we lost. The announcers pointed out that of the last 11 meetings by these teams, ASU has won 10 (or something like that, it was late and I was tired).

But then the Husky offense took the field and between Myles Gaskin's running and Jake Browning's throwing, they marched down the field for a touchdown. The ASU defense could do little to stop the Husky offense throughout the game. The ASU offense made some good plays but only got one more touchdown in the fourth quarter and the rest of their scores were field goals. The final score of the game was 20-27. Not a blow-out, but a win is a win.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12

Washington State played USC, and barely lost 36-39. That's the Cougar's first loss of the season (and,
I think, their first Pac-12 game). Stanford beat Oregon, but had to go into overtime to do it.

The Polls

 In the AP poll that came out Sunday, Stanford stayed at #7. For some reason Washington dropped to #11 despite their win (Auburn is now #10). Oregon moved up one to #19. And for some reason, California, which has yet to play any conference games (they had a bye this week) is #24.

Next Week

Next weekend the Huskies play their final non-conference game, taking on #20 BYU (the second ranked team we'll play). They play at home so that is helpful. The game is at 5:30 PDT on Fox.

Stanford plays Notre Dame. Both teams are undefeated. Utah will be playing Washington State in Pullman. And Oregon plays California in Berkeley.

Thursday, September 20, 2018


Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Social." Not sure what they mean by that. Feels as if I've sort of written about this before.

I'm not a very social person being a strong introvert. I'm very shy which I've worked hard to overcome but still in social settings such as parties I'm the wall flower. Or I talk to the dog.

And I have to be social this weekend. My nephew is getting married Saturday.

People who can jump into social situations and chat people up amaze me. How do they do that. And I know that extroverts get energy from such situations where introverts get drained by such situations. And I'm definitely drained.

That was one reason I didn't fit in well in the corporate world was the job I had required me to be social. And it was a struggle every time. Now about the only time I have to be social is at book signings. But they exhaust me.

How do you handle social situations? Jump right in or talk to the plants? Let me know in the comments below.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

The Huskies are 2-1

With last night's win over the Utah Utes, the University of Washington Huskies go to 2-1 on the season.

This game was significant because it was the Huskies' first in-conference game and it was on the road. Last year the Huskies had problems on the road, their only two losses coming when away from Husky Stadium.

At first the game looked like it might be a blow out. The Utes went three-and-out on their first possession and then the Huskies made a touch down on a Myles Gaskin run on their first play. But after that it turned into a defensive battle which kept both scores fairly low. The final score was 14-7.

The Huskies looked better than they did against North Dakota. But they still have to figure out the run game. Gaskin only made that one opening long run, and had a lot of runs that went almost nowhere. We have a new Offensive Coordinator this year and I'm wondering if that's part of the problem. He doesn't know how to use Gaskin effectively. Also, for some reason, Salvon Ahmed only carried the ball once in the entire game. And he didn't get far, either. I spent the entire summer saying "Ahmed is going to be so good this year" and so far, he hasn't lived up to my hopes. How dare he?

Jake Browning's throwing game is looking better, too. The biggest problem the senior has is he still tries to make plays he just can't make and as a result, gets sacked way back. He needs to know when it's over and fall on the ball. He also got called for intentional grounding once (and I thought it should be twice).

The Utes' defense had two targeting calls against it. One was blatant and the other was a bit questionable. Targeting is when the player leads with his helmet for a tackle. But two Utes were ejected from the game. I bet the Utes' fans will be grumbling about the officiating for two weeks (they have a bye next week).

Next week the Huskies play Arizona State Sun Devils in Husky Stadium. Arizona State was doing well this year, having won their first two games, including beating a ranked Michigan State. But yesterday they lost to San Diego State. Arizona State is one of the Huskies' two losses last year, so the Dawgs will be looking for payback. That game is at a ridiculous 7:30 PM on ESPN,

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Washington State beat the FCS team Eastern Washington. I thought
Eastern might do better ,but the score was 24-59. USC got tounced by Texas 14-37. That puts USC 1-2 on the season. They may not be the Pac-12 South champion. Right now the Colorado Buffaloes are in first place in the Pac-12 South at 3-0. Stanford and Oregon lead the Pac-12 North at 3-0. So we definitely need to beat Stanford and Oregon to win the Pac-12 North.

One team that's having a tough time is UCLA. They are 0-3 and lost yesterday to Fresno State (a former cupcake). UCLA has a new coach (as do five Pac-12 teams) but if this keeps up, he won't last long.

By the way, the teams with new coaches are Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Oregon, and Oregon State (who stole the Huskies offensive coordinator to be head coach).

But it's early in the season. Only Stanford, Washington, the Utes, and USC have played in-conference games. And only Stanford and Washington have in-conference winning records (of 1-0). We'll have to see how things shake out when there's more conference games in the record books.

The Polls:

The AP Top 25 football poll has Stanford climbing to #7 from #9. Washington stays at #10. And Oregon stays at #20. USC and Arizona State drop off the top 25. So now only three teams in the Pac-12 are in the AP Top 25. The top four positions are #1 Alabama, #2 Georgia (up from #3), #3 Clemson (down from #2), and Ohio State #4.

And finally, Auburn (who we want to do well now) lost to LSU, so Auburn dropped to #9 and LSU jumped to #6 (from #12).

Now we just wait a week for the next college football Saturday.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Winter is Coming

Back to the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Winter." Which is timely because we are into fall now and winter is coming (apparently that's a Game of Thrones reference).

(Okay, technically, fall starts on September 22nd, which is nine days away.)

I used to like winter. But now it just annoys me. The winter of 2016-17 was awful. We had snow for months and just as the roads would get clear, it would snow again. We had freezing rain twice (I think) and once it was so bad I didn't even leave my house for a day. And then there's trips over Snoqualmie Pass in the winter. Snoqualmie Pass sits between where I live and the greater Seattle area. My son goes to school there and he doesn't drive. So I had to go get him for winter break. And every time I went over the pass, the State Patrol decided it needed to be chains required except for all-wheel-drive vehicles with snow tires. Luckily, my car is all-wheel drive and I put on Blizzak tires in the winter. So I didn't have to put on chains. But that's an indication of how bad the roads were.

(Once, before I owned this car, I had a car that was rear-wheel drive. And it was chains required. I put on chains, drove for a while, and then took them off. It wasn't nearly bad enough to require chains. Another time, in the same car, it was chains required. I didn't put them on and knew if I could make it up the steep hill just before the pass, I'd be fine. I made it. The car slipped a couple of times but I got up the hill, more due to my skill and the Blizzaks than anything else. It's a $500 fine if you get caught without chains.)

And the roads aren't always just bad on the pass. Sometimes they are bad from where you start going up the pass until home. So you're going 35 mph the whole 180 miles, almost. Makes for a long trip. People would pass us and then a couple miles down the road they'd be in the ditch.

I like to drive, but driving in slick conditions take the fun out of it, and makes it work.

Don't know what this winter will bring. I'm hoping it will be more like '17-'18 than '16-'17. But you never know.

Monday, September 10, 2018

Huskies are 1-1

I usually do these posts on the Sunday morning after the game on Saturday. But this week I had a family thing Sunday so I'm posting today.

The University of Washington Huskies are now 1-1 with their victory over the University of North Dakota Fighting Sioux Hawks. The Hawks are an FCS team so this is one of those easy non-conference games used to build confidence and get some practice in before playing Pac-12 teams.

I don't know if the Huskies were over-confident but they still didn't play well. North Dakota managed to shut down our running attack so quarterback Jake Browning ended up throwing a lot. At halftime the score was only 0-17. For a top-10 ranked team playing an FCS team, that's a low score. After halftime the Dawgs looked better. But then something interesting happened. With about 10 minutes left in the fourth quarter, Coach Petersen pulled the starters and put in back-up quarterback Jake Haener (a red-shirt freshman). And he and the other back-up players actually played better than the starters. They got two touchdowns and made it look easy. Haener may be next year's starting quarterback and if so, that's good news.

The final score, because of those two late TDs, was 3-45.

Next week, the Dawgs travel to Salt Lake City to take on a tough Utah team. I hope their play is
improved before then or they're going to have problems. At least they shouldn't be over-confident.

Elsewhere in the Pac-12, Stanford beat USC by a score of 3-17. That means Stanford is going to be a tough opponent when we play them later in the year. And we have to beat Stanford if we're going to be the Pac-12 North champions.

In the AP top 25 poll, Washington dropped one space to #10 and Stanford went up one slot to #9. Oregon climbed to #20 and USC dropped to #22. There's no other Pac-12 teams ranked.

UPDATE: I missed Arizona State who, after beating #15 Michigan State, is now ranked at #23.

Thursday, September 6, 2018


Time once again for the 52-week blogging challenge. Today's prompt is "Strength."

Strength is interesting. I've never been a very physically strong person. My upper body strength has always been lousy. Even when I was in the military, I usually just barely passed the physical strength requirements. And forget doing a pull up. I've never managed to do one of those. I did once achieve running a seven-minute mile. I was proud of that. Of course, you watch marathons on television and in the 25th mile they're doing four to five-minutes miles.

But there's more to strength then pumping iron. There's strength of will. For example, it takes a lot of will to write a novel. And I've done that quite a few times. You could say writing a novel is my "marathon."

I've always had a strong brain. A little dyslexic (never was a good speller) and sometimes it gets confused. I will type a word that sounds like the word I want. And often I spell "how" as "who" (same letters, different order). It's strange.

I remember in college people carried planners and they would write down deadlines such as tests and when papers were due. I never did that, I carried it all in my head. Now I put everything in my phone because in my aging brain, I can't carry it all in my head anymore.

How are you strong? Let me know in the comments.

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

College Football Rivalries

One of the (many) fun things about college football, is the rivalries. Probably the most famous one is Ohio State and Michigan.

But the Pac-12 has some rivalries, too. Most are based on geography (same state or city). Some are based on past history. The Pac-12 usually, but not always schedules rivalry games for the last game of the regular season.

For example, USC and UCLA (both in Los Angeles) is a rivalry. And Stanford and Cal are rivals (same metro area).  And of course Arizona and Arizona State, Oregon and Oregon State. And Washington and Washington State.

But at the University of Washington, we also hate Oregon. For me, this is because they beat us a lot in the past few years (the last two, 2016 and 2017, UW won). And they were insufferable about it. Also, Oregon has a lot of Phil Knight (Nike gazillionaire) money to buy good coaches. So there's a bit of envy going on for Washington fans. Just be assured, Washington fans hate Oregon. To me, the Washington State rivalry is friendly. The Oregon rivalry is war.

In terms of teams I want to beat it's Oregon first, then Washington State, then USC, then Stanford, then the rest.

One interesting rivalry is Colorado and Utah. I kind of think this was a "wag the dog" rivalry. They are the last two teams to join the Pac-12 (making it "Pac-12" instead of "Pac-10" like it was for decades). So they needed rivals in the Pac-12 and chose each other.

Rivalries add fun to college football. Which is already a ton of fun.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Huskies are #9

The AP Top 25 Poll came out today. And the University of Washington Huskies drop to #9 (as I sort of predicted) from #6. The team that beat them, Auburn, is #7.

Other Pac-12 teams are:

Stanford #10 (up from #13)
USC #17 (dropping from #15 after their tough win Saturday)
Oregon #23 (up from #24)

For the rest of the season the AP poll will come out at about 11 AM Pacific Time on Sundays.

Sunday, September 2, 2018

Huskies are 0-1

It's tough having your first game be one of your biggest games.

Yesterday the University of Washington Huskies played the Auburn Tigers in the "Chick-Fil-A Kickoff" game in Atlanta. Before this game, the Huskies were rated by the AP at #6 and Auburn at #9.

In the first quarter, the Huskies looked as if they had forgotten how to play football. After a three and out by the Huskies, the Tigers marched down the field and made a touchdown.

In the second quarter, the Huskies played better. In the third quarter they played like they used to. In the fourth quarter, they played as if they were tired. They still tried, but made too many mistakes. If they had played the whole game like they did in the third quarter, they would have won. As it was, they lost the close contest by 21 to 16. It was a very defensive game and missed fieldgoals hurt both teams. But the Huskies more so.

The Auburn offense shut down the Huskies' vaunted run game. Quarterback Jake Browning could pass but he missed too often. And Auburn played dirty, earning a lot of penalties. At one point I thought the referees gave the Huskies an offensive pass interference just to make up for all the Auburn defensive pass interference calls. At one point Jake Browning was obviously targeted with a helmet-to-helmet tackle and it wasn't called.

The AP poll doesn't come out until Tuesday due to the Labor Day holiday. So we won't know until then how badly this hurts us in the polls. It should drop us to at least #9.

Also, this likely means the Huskies won't make the College Football Playoffs (CFP). And in order to win the Pac-12 North they'll have to win every game for the rest of the year. To win the Pac-12 championship, they'll have to win the Pac-12 North then beat the winner of the Pac-12 South who is projected to be USC. Right now the Huskies are tied for last place in the Pac-12 North with Oregon State, who lost to #5 Ohio State by a score of 77 to 31. Oregon State is the worst team in the Pac-12.

Other teams that lost in the Pac-12 on opening weekend were UCLA and Arizona.

Of course, I still love my Huskies. It was 10 years ago that they went 0-12. And I loved them then, too.

Next week we play North Dakota at home. North Dakota is a FCS team. They are the "Fighting Hawks." They were the "Fighting Sioux" until the Pesky Promoters of Political Correctness at the NCAA made them change it. I wonder if any Sioux were asked about it.